Paris must be heaven on earth for bees. Think about all of the flowering parks scented with nectar and pollen like an alluringly perfumed Parisienne. There’s the Jardin du Luxembourg with its heady chestnuts. The Palais-Royal and its sweet lindens. The giddy rose garden at the Jardin de Bagatelle. The Tuileries’ ever-changing bouquets of flowerbeds.
Bee colonies have been declining globally in recent times — a worry because these buzzing insects are the most important pollinator of food crops — but bees are thriving in Paris, which has been a pesticide-free zone since 2019.
That means Parisian honey is among the purest options you can buy.
Beehives are dotted all over the city. You might have spotted some in another corner of the Tuileries, in the shadow of the Louvre’s Pavillon de Flore.
The hives are a joint project of the museum and Nuxe, the Parisian beauty brand that uses honey in many of its luscious potions (its Rêve de Miel lip balm is, as its name suggests, truly dreamy!), to help preserve the city’s bee population.
The pursuit to protect our bees might have gained momentum in the past few years, but apiculture has a long history in Paris.
In the Jardin du Luxembourg, near the espalier orchard, is a sweet old apiary where beekeeping classes have been held since 1856.
If you’re lucky to chance upon the Fête du Miel, a two-day festival held in September (outside of Covid times), you can buy a jar of honey flavoured with the signature flowers of this beautiful park.
The Paris honey industry has boomed of late, with the rise in popularity of urban beekeeping. One of the city’s most celebrated beekeepers is the dapper Audric de Campeau, who manages the hives on the rooftops of Les Invalides, L’École Militaire, La Monnaie de Paris (pictured below) and Le Cordon Bleu.
You can buy his hand-numbered Le Miel de Paris blends from Fauchon Madeleine, Printemps du Goût, La Grande Épicerie du Bon Marché and the gift shops at the Musée d’Orsay and Les Invalides.
Another must-have collector’s item for lovers of honey and Paris alike is a jar of Miel de l’Opéra, available from the Palais Garnier — yes, there are also hives up on the fabulously ornate rooftop of the city’s older opera house.
Also stop by La Petite Épcerie de la Tour (17 Quai de la Tournelle, 75005), the super-chic food boutique of famed restaurant La Tour d’Argent …
Here you can buy, among all sorts of chic delicacies, pots of the honey harvested from the restaurant’s rooftop — with that legendary view of Notre Dame, no less.
Speaking of the Notre Dame, there are also hives high up on the sacristy roof …
Yes, even after the devastating fire and the toxic fumes that ensued. Which is surely as much as miracle as the cathedral’s survival. (Here is a wonderful story from The Guardian if you want to read more.) Sadly, Notre Dame is not for public sale.
But if you scoot up to the Marais, you’ll come across one other lovely honeypot of a shop …
Miel Factory (28 Rue de Sévigné, 75004) sells honey from all around the world (think a Thyme infusion from Greece or a Eucalyptus confection from Madagascar), with an emphasis on a luscious French collection that includes the like of Lavender Honey from Provence, Chestnut Honey from the Cévennes and, bien sûr, Paris Honey, which comes in two blends, Le Marais and Montmartre.
You also have L’Abeille Française that sells Parisian honey but only on their website and as a honey lover, that’s the best one!
What a lovely site. I saw the beehives years ago atLuxembourg Gardens and i think I remember ponies too? My 18 year old granddaughter has arrived in Paris this morning with another young woman for her first time. I am excited for her. The French painters like Corot and Matisse and Renoir are heavenly.